Foreign Minister of Ecuador Juan Carlos Holguín says talks are underway with officials of the United Kingdom to allow Ecuadorians to enter the UK without a visa. His comments came days after Colombia announced it reached a visa waiver agreement with the UK.
“We are attempting to make up for lost time from the mistakes of the last decade,” Holguín. “We want our citizens to have the same free access to the UK and Schengen area countries that the citizens of Peru and Colombia have.” Holguín blamed the “imbalance” on the refusal to former President Rafael Correa to join a trade agreement the European Union signed with Peru and Colombia in 2013. “That decision made Ecuadorians second-class citizens among the people living in the Andean region.”
Holguín added that Correa’s government signed the same agreement unilaterally with the EU three years later but it did not include the visa waiver.
Holguín says that the visa exemption for Colombian citizens to enter the UK is “good news” for Colombians. “It is a shame that Ecuador must continue to seek the arrangement not only with UK and the EU.”
Cotopaxi volcano activity is ‘stable’
A fly-over by two reconnaissance aircraft Thursday confirmed higher than average temperatures at the Cotopaxi volcano crater as well as ash accumulation on the glacier surrounding the crater. According to the Geological Institute, air temperatures at the top of the volcano measured above 50 degrees (122 F.), indicating that magma remains at a higher than normal level in the mountain.
The Institute reported that ash and gas emissions rise above the volcano, reaching heights of 1,000 meters, but pose a low threat to surrounding areas. “We maintain constant monitoring of the volcano but have seen little change within the last 48 hours. The volcano remains at a higher than normal level of activity but we believe the situation is stable,” it said in a Thursday night statement.
Constitutional Court approves Lasso’s revised referendum questions
Ecuador’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of President Guillermo Lasso’s new referendum questions regarding changes to the role of the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control Thursday. Last week, the court rejected the president’s early questions, saying they inappropriately sought a change by constitutional amendment.
Like the old ones, the new questions would reduce the authority of the Cpccs to appoint key government officials and increase public involvement in the selection process of council members.
The Cpccs has been a point of contention between Lasso and the National Assembly due to its authority. If approved, the Assembly would continue to appoint Cpccs members but would be required to add a process of public debate and disclosure. According to Lasso’s office, the change would install a strong system of “checks and balances” in the selection process.
New prison riot in Guayaquil leaves one dead
At least one inmate was killed and two others were injured Monday in a new prison riot in Ecuador, the national prison authority reported.
The riot occurred at the Guayas prison known as Penitenciaría del Litoral in Guayaquil due to clashes between inmates belonging to different organized crime gangs linked to drug trafficking, who were fighting for control of the facility, SNAI said on social media.
Confrontation broke out Monday afternoon, after which the usual protocols were activated and police riot squads were summoned with help from the Armed Forces and the participation of Health Ministry and Human Rights Secretariat authorities.
It was the second riot this month in the same prison after the one on Oct. 5 left 13 inmates dead and 22 people wounded (16 inmates and 6 law enforcement officers).
So far this year, over 100 inmates have been killed in Ecuadorian prison rioting, and more than 450 since 2020.